Winter tires are installed on many of our European cousins in the colder seasons, but we Brits still stick with summer tires all year round.
Relationships begin to change in the UK, albeit at a slow seasonal demand for tyres is gaining momentum. To see if this trend will this cost, we offers cold weather tyres in the unlikely winter car, before offering tips on how best to look after these specialized tires, themselves, in the winter UK roads.
Winter driving tips
WINTER TYRES TEST CAR
The only thing we know about the seasons that they are seasonal, right? Which means that it will be winter before we know again, and to questions about winter tires again arise in the minds of the everyday motorist.
Such as: winter tyres are, how much they cost, do they really make a difference compared to a summer tyre when the roads turn greasy, they should be mandatory in the UK (as in many other “cold” European countries at certain times of the year), and which are the best to buy and where the best places to go to find the best deals?
Until recently, most of the team car were skeptical about winter tires. They were called a conspiracy developed by car and tyre manufacturers to get us to part with our hard earned folding for what we need. But then we tried some, at which point opinion on this issue has changed dramatically.
Click here for winter car maintenance tips
The first test was using the BMW 1M – rear-wheel drive coupe with less weight over the driven axle, using winter tyres Michelin Alpin. The car immediately felt surprisingly different to drive; it was much more comfortable on a straight road, was sweeter to steer, much less active on the roads, and much more power everywhere on a wet road.
The whole car felt as if it was somehow locked, and also a fun sticker that appeared in the upper right part of the windshield, warning, do not drive above 149mph. As if BMW GB was saying: ‘because we know what Larks you normally stand up Forklift a lot in our cars…
There were some other qualities about the car on winter tyres that are less desirable, however. For example, the speedometer was wildly ambitious; in true 70 mph it was reading almost 80 mph, which meant that the fuel gauge was also off-piste. And the car’s traction control also became neurotic, killing the power at the slightest smell of gas, even on dry roads.
But when, finally, the snow has gone – but only slightly – the tyres were an absolute revelation. 1m was not rendered useless, as without doubt it would be on its original 19 inch summer tires. Instead, he can go anywhere, because he could stop, steer and accelerate, almost as if the roads were just wet, not snow.
And subsequently tried other winter tires on the same hardcore cars, including the BMW I8 (pictured) and the Porsche 911 – it’s equally clear that winter tyres are not only for rest, but still better year-on-year.
Winter tyres are now big business for manufacturers of tires in Europe, even if we in the UK still make them, like most other European countries. But our guess is that this attitude will change in the near future.
WINTER TIRES – GOOD FOR BRITAIN?
What sense to spend up to $ 1000 on winter tires when we have the weather to justify such extra costs?
Let’s just say, next time it snows, and our people will fail again (which it will) just think how much money will go up in smoke, the result is chaos. And think how much more effective it would be if, as they do in Latvia when it snows (which means most of the year), we all continued to move in our cars, vans, lorries and buses, virtually as if nothing had happened.
That’s how much of a difference winter tires can make. And the sooner we realize this, the less there will be a massacre the next time our favorite weather forcasters warn us there is a “cold” heading our way.
WINTER TYRES – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I can drive on winter tires in summer?
Yes, but it is best to store them in the summer otherwise they will wear out pretty quickly.
What are the main benefits of winter tyres compared to normal tyres?
On rear wheel drive cars, in particular, they improve all aspects of performance. But the biggest difference in braking and traction, and the differences are monumental, as in more than 50%.
I really need winter tires on a front wheel drive car?
Yes, because although improvement is not as great as they are on rear drive cars, they are still very high, especially in braking performance.
How much winter tires cost?
About the same as summer tyres, depending on the size, type and make.
Where is the best place to buy them?
Always check prices on the Internet (with companies such as blackcircles.com) but check with your car manufacturer to get the recommended sizes.
Do winter tyres in the rain?
Yes, a huge difference. In fact, they will improve braking, traction and overall grip of your car at pretty much any temperature below 5-7deg even in the dry. And in the wet, at these temperatures the difference is like chalk and cheese.
Is it worth it to put winter tires on the old clunker?
If You appreciate the front and rear bumpers are tired of your old clunker and didn’t want to ruin your bonus, Yes. If not, then not. And good luck.
I can get 20-inch winter tyres that look the same as 20-inch high-performance summer tires?
Yes. Most major tire manufacturers now make 20-inch winter tyres.
What happened to the balance, rather than a set of snow chains?
Good luck if you install these once you slid to a stop on the roadside on the ascent of the busy highway.
Winter tyres worth it?
In our humble opinion, Yes. With extra cheese and tomato sauce on top.